<i>Blindspott in Auckland</i>
Fans had one last chance to say goodbye to Blindspott when they played their final show in Auckland. Reviewer Chris Schulz joined the rabid fans in bidding the Kiwi metal act goodbye.
The Blindspott front man had just finished performing Phlex - the band's hugely popular reggae-metal ballad - with two ex-Blindspotters during the band's final show of their Farewell tour.
It was the last time Alexander was going to perform it, so if there were tears they were more than justified.
Those tears contained 10 years of history as one of New Zealand's biggest metal acts closed the curtain on a career that includes two No. 1 albums, sold out tours, main stage Big Day Out performances and one crushing metal anthem after another.
And let's not forget the band's brief brush with mainstream celebrity success when drummer Shelton Woolright's relationship with model Nicky Watson got nasty in the gossip magazines.
None of that mattered at the sold-out Powerstation as more than 1000 fans helped give the band a fitting send off. They showed their appreciation with a noisy, riotous moshpit that bounced endlessly, giving the venue's floorboards a thorough working over.
The band responded with a 90-minute show full of emotion. Opening with Suffocate, Blindspott moved through most of 2002's self-titled rap-rock-influenced debut and much of last year's End the Silence.
Yes, some of their early nu-metal influences sound a little dated now, but the darker, heavier tracks from Silence more than made up for it.
The band's true strengths come through on tracks like Yours Truly, Stay and Drown, when Woolright and guitarist Marcus Powell create grinding metal grooves for Alexander to layer with surprisingly melodic choruses and those deathly screams.
The show had a slightly shambolic feel to it: Stage invaders were common, family members were sitting on the side of the stage and die-hard fans were introduced for a drinking contest.
But the music was tighter than ever, proving just how much the band will be missed on the New Zealand music scene. Let's not forget - Blindspott dragged New Zealand metal onto radio and into the charts.
The show contained several surprises. During S.U.I.T, Alexander split the moshpit down the middle and told fans to swear at each other - sparking a near riot.
At the close of the main part of the set, the band's former DJ and bassist were introduced for thrilling versions of Mind Dependency and Phlex - when those emotions were written all over the faces of those on stage.
But the biggest surprise was saved for the end. After thanking the crowd, Blindspott ended with the beginning - performing Nil By Mouth, their very first single and "the song that started it all".
To punctuate the hit, Alexander jumped from a towering speaker stack at the side of the stage into the waiting arms of fans below.
Planned or not, there couldn't have been a more fitting way to end the show.
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